Hi, I'm David

I'm a user experience designer in sunny Brisbane, Australia.

My design history

Every job I’ve had and every project I’ve worked on has taught me something about design, people and business. I love diving into what drives people and business and how to get the two to come together.

I started off loving animation and flash then working for a print magazine doing layouts, advertising and album covers. Then I moved more towards the web, designing websites and creating full branding and marketing strategies as well as User Interfaces for web-based applications and delving into User Experience models.

The advent and the subsequent all-encompassing rise of mobile and tablet pushed me into responsive design and collaboration with front-end web development for frameworks and agile development.

This is what I do

Now I am diving into the psychology of the digital ecosphere, working with data, research (both quantitative and qualitative), user testing, human-centred design practices, ideation cycles, design sprints, customer journey mapping, personas and the list goes on.

I thoroughly enjoy unpacking a business to understand how it ticks, and whom it will appeal to, and working with a great team to get those 2 to meet and make magic happen.

I am also working on my skills as a writer and have been slowly publishing articles on Medium. You can see more of my work history over on LinkedIn, and my internet ramblings on Twitter.

UI Design

High fidelity designs, pattern libraries, design systems and development ready assets. Using Sketch & Studio predominantly.

User Experience

Prototyping, user flows, journey maps, research and data and user testing. Working with Service designers, Business Architects and product owners.

Design Thinking

Sketching, storyboarding, workshops and design sprints. All wrapped in the IDEO Human Centred Design methodology.

Design Delivery

Collaborating with development teams, device testing, agile methodologies with scrums or lean practices. Big fan a JIRA and Confluence paired with Invision.

Designing a responsive customer quote engine

Aleksandr Orlov Background

How did you get into UX, and what is it about the industry that interests you the most?

I studied design and programming, when I was studying UX wasn’t a thing. CX was still new and mostly all about driving sales rather than actual empathy. I came to UX via UI design, web design, marketing and sales optimisation.

My work up until about 3 years ago was still very much about how can a business appeal to it’s desired customers better by improving their experience. So not user led, user driven and very data orientated.

It’s really only in the last 5 years that I have seen Brisbane companies understand was UX research is and how it’s a seperate skill set to design.

There is still a lot I have to learn about research and psychology and behaviour.

What are your main roles and responsibilities as a UX Lead at Tigerspike?

In Tigerspike we have 2 major career paths within each discipline. The first is towards a Principal role, which we like to call our guns for hire. These people are the masters of their skillset and are often used to help in sales and to speed projects up and deliver quality quickly.

The second is the Lead role, my role, these people are managers essentially. We look after a team of people in our skillset area and tend to work on more longer term projects where team oversight is needed. We can also be brought into sales work but we don’t get shipped around projects as much. We also need to balance our project/client work with HR and admin.

My typical day to day work involves a lot of different things, I’m essentially off the tools now and I coordinate my team and help guide the project on priorities, client management, team cadence, unblocking issues and all that.

I’m also in charge of the Design vision of the project which I need to keep my team on. I also have to check in with team and manage their performance as well as their reviews, HR needs and so on

Which research methods would you suggest I focus on learning about the most at this early stage into my UX journey?

Methodology wise it’s a hard question. Qualitative research is really an experience based skillset, but if your folio shows that you can write an interview script, understand heuristics and can affinity diagram, that would be a good start.

I think a lot of UX people don’t know how to use data and quantitative research tools in combination with user interviews. Personally, I would be looking for a researcher who knows when to use what methodology, how and why. So the answer depends on your current skillset.

Look at tools like Optimal Workshop, Loop11, Qualtrics, any survey builder. For data analysis and diagramming, look at Miro, Tableau, Show some excel skills and graphing. Also, being familiar with workflow tools like JIRA and Confluence and Trello is always a plus for digital companies.

I’m in my third year of being a product designer, when you were at that stage, what were the skills you needed to develop the most in order to keep progressing?

I think when I started at compare the market would be a good comparison as before that we were still called web designers and smartphones were too new.

My skills at the time were solid on the tools, good ability to wireframe, do high fidelity designs, discuss design concepts and theories and map user flows. What I needed to learn over the next few years could essentially be boiled down to 2 things: How businesses work and how to use data for design.

The first is about understanding how a business goes from idea or problem through funding, prioritisation, decisions making, design and development. Then understanding how that is measured in dollars and how you can measure improvements and return on investment.

This is an essential thing to learn so that you can be involved in the decisions that eventually lead to design briefs, I found myself often wondering why I was being asked (told) to design something I did not see the point in, and being able to speak money and business meant I was included earlier in the process and exert more influence earlier.

The second part is very tightly linked to the first as I found myself needing to justify to the business why my designs were “good” or “right” for the customers. I started diving into analytics and data, learning about how sales funnels work, how metrics are chosen and what they mean.

In parallel I was learning about user research and usability and how they can statistically prove an approach is valid and will work before the money is invested and time spent.

I guess the last unmentioned skill was people skills, in my earlier years I was a very blunt and abrupt person, and I was not so good at taking criticism. I often spoke with my body language a little too clearly what I thought of non designers opinions on design, and that didn’t win me any discussions or battles.

I was lucky to have really good managers who called me on my bullshit (pardon the term, it’s accurate though) and I learnt to be less attached to my work, and more attached to the outcome and problem than the steps to get there.